ISLAMABAD: The father of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari has accused the government of trying to ignore the fact that a man accused of raping and killing his daughter is part of an international pornography ring in the Kasur district of Punjab.
The dead girl’s father Mohammed Amin Ansari told Arab News that the government is trying to push the matter under the rug, trying to present Imran Ali as a lone wolf. Ali is currently in police custody.
“Ali is not alone in this crime,” he said in a telephone interview. “Our investigations in the area reveal he is part of a pornographic ring who sexually assault children, shoot them and sell the videos in international market.”
Ansari accused the Punjab government of hiding the details and presenting the accused as a “lone wolf for face-saving or to protect some vested interests.”
But Punjab government spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan told Arab News that “the investigators have so far not found any link of Imran with any child pornographic ring.”
“Imran is a lone wolf in the case, but investigations are still under way,” he said.
Zainab’s body was found in a garbage dump on Jan. 9, five days after she was snatched on her way to a Qur’an class near her home in Kasur.
The incident stirred outrage across Pakistan and there have been calls for her killer to be publicly hanged.
Imran Ali, the key suspect in the case, was arrested on Jan. 20.
Zainab is believed to be the 12th child raped and killed in the past year in the Kasur area. The city has a long history of pedophile scandals. In August 2015, it was reported that 280 children were forced to have sex and around 400 videos of them were recovered.
The Punjab government described the case as a “land dispute” between two parties registering fake cases of sexual abuse of their children with the police.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar summoned well-known TV journalist Shahid Masood, after he alleged on air in his program that Imran Ali belonged to a gang supplying pornographic videos of children internationally.
If the news of a Zainab’s abduction, rape and murder was not shocking enough, there emerges greater dark side of the case that daily shocks the nation with new revelations.
The accused is a carpenter and lived in the neighbourhood. He has been living in the same house for three years. It is strange that no one recognised him from the CCTV footage, bad tape and beard shaved post-Zainab murder notwithstanding.
The DNA result of Imran has been claimed to be a perfect match with eight cases of raped and murdered girl-childs’ done previously.
Certain points need to be viewed here. One, understanding what DNA means. A DNA is a certain number defining polymorphism of an individual. No two individuals carry the exact same DNA in the world to one exception only: identical twins. Two, if the DNA of eight girls raped had the same DNA of Imran on them, how come at least in two of these quoted eight cases, two different people were killed in ‘police encounters’ with ‘exact match DNA’? (Reference reports shown in Mubashir Lucman show Kharra Such on SAMAA TV last week).
This was substantiated by Dawn in in the news report that stated earlier the culprit having assaulted Zainab had also done the same to Iman. Whereas one Mudassir was killed by police allegedly in an encounter upon being taken in custody for raping and murdering Iman. (January 25, 2018) DNA in any case is corroborative evidence, not primary.
The startling news by Dr Shahid Masood created a hue and cry among people, some believed while some vehemently opposed him. He alleged that this was a gang of which Zainab’s rapist and killer was a member that included pornography. He also stated that a Punjab minister was member of this gang. He claimed that the arrested Imran has 37 bank accounts most of which are in foreign currency. He has challenged the theory of the arrested being mentally challenged instead he is claims him to be member of an international ring. Singling him out to deride him on social media and other forums cannot be condoned. Whether this evidence stands the test of court scrutiny is for the court to decide. Any comment on the quality of evidence provided is mere speculation till it is known via court decision.
Looking at the bigger picture, if one recalls, the Kasur pornography child scandal case is still pending with four accused granted bail on grounds of benefit of doubt. This known case came to light in 2015, spanning a period from 2006 to 2014 in Hussain Khanwala village in the District of Kasur. “Villagers told Reuters that a prominent family there has for years forced children to perform sex acts on video. The footage was sold or used to blackmail their impoverished families.” (The Dawn; Updated January 10, 2018)
Pedophilia and resulting sex scandals are unfortunately not a new phenomenon — this applies to the world not just Pakistan. Rod Nordland, writing for New York Times (January 24, 2018) quoted a report by SIGAR. Among the findings was “an investigation into child sexual abuse by the Afghan security forces and the supposed indifference of the US military to the problem.” The article goes on to state, “SIGAR said it had opened an investigation into bacha bazi at the request of Congress and in response to a 2015 New York Times article that described the practice as “rampant.”
Recently Pope Francis’s comment in Chile claiming the sex victims were indulging in slander drew a lot of negative feelings from Chileans. According to Fox News the Pope was addressing the accusations against Bishop Juan Barros that claim he was complicit in covering up the sex crimes committed by Rev Frenando Karadima.
Coming back to Pakistan; if in Zainab’s case, if the police had addressed the issue when first case emerged in 2012, she may be alive today. There is a deeply crippling side to the case: failure of the investigative system and the state machinery to act without social media and mainstream media pressure reacting harshly to the case.
A sad aspect has been tweets by at least two known individuals that can only be deemed as unkind to Zainab and her family and this is an understement. Although one can understand media’s role to cover the inhuman action nut an obsession to the extent of repeated talks with Zainab’s father at every step as the case progresses may not be a great idea. The court decision to put a stop to is a welcome step.
Those who were shot and killed and those who died at the hospital having protested Zainab’s murder at the DPO office have faded into the sub-text. What is the development on this aspect of the case?
The important question here must be to identify the killer and the ring around him if one exists. A very harsh punishment needs to be meted out as per law in either case. In cases where police claimed some to be child rapist and murder that has now been proved wrong, what steps are to be taken against those in police doing this and what were the causes that they did this? The issues need to be identified and addressed.
Law must deliver. Punishment deters those who think of doing same crimes. A society without law is a lawless society. Zainab’s case has been a mirror to the society in more ways than one!
End Note: “Pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader’s greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honourable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.”
(Suzy Kassem: Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)